Canada: Profitable oil sands

Canada: Profitable oil sands

Ask an American where his or her petrol comes from, and they’ll immediately answer: “the Middle East”! But in fact, it is the oil-bearing sands of Canada that supply the majority of the United States’ crude oil.

Over 2 million barrels cross the border every day. The environmental consequences of this vast windfall are disastrous: to be able to sell their bituminous sand, Canada even had to pull out of the Kyoto protocol. The small urban service area of Fort McMurray, which lords over the mountain of black gold, is home to a very dense population: with the rise in prices, Alberta oil has become financially profitable.

But so great are the ecological costs of extraction that opponents have joined forces. Producing a barrel of Alberta crude oil requires ten times more energy than a conventional barrel. Worst still, Indian populations living within the exploitation zone are in danger, suffering rates of cancer that are 20 to 30% higher than average, and neither pressure from public opinion nor the tarnished image of the country have had any effect. Canada - now proven to be the 2nd largest oil reserve after Saudi Arabia – has become one of the world’s large oil dealers.

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